19 Aug 2010

NHS Patient record system: halted but not stopped

I have long opposed moves towards the database state - in recent blogs I have opposed the NHS record system - see here - and see my calls to opt out here - the British Medical Association has already called for the upload to be stopped because of "serious misgivings about everything to do with care records including the way consent has been gained." Indeed GPs are still discussing a boycott of the system.

A recent analysis of the system by University College London found that 80 per cent of patients did not remember receiving the leaflets or had simply thrown them away. There is also no information on how children can opt out, although the Department of Health said that parents could inform their GPs if they wanted this to happen.

Well now the NHS patient record leaflet campaign has been halted but not stopped. The Government has ordered health authorities to stop mailing out information leaflets on the system designed to put patient records on to a central computer system because of concerns that it did not make it clear how people could opt out.

When Channel4 asked the Department of Health why the programme had not been suspended until the reviews had been completed, a spokesman said: "We believe the decision on whether to create new Summary Care Records must continue to be taken locally by GP practices and Primary Care Trusts. We are fully committed to the specific reviews we have announced in relation to the information sent to patients about the Summary Care Record and the process by which they can express their preference, and the review of the content of the record. All new mailings of letters informing patients about the Summary Care Record have been paused while this review takes place." See Channel4 here.

I hope this means there is a chance to see sense but I fear this system will still be introduced....

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